Antimicrobial proteinaceous compounds such as bacteriocins or bacteriocin-like compounds produced by Lactobacillus acidophilus are largely known and have been found to have potent antimicrobial activities toward closely related bacteria and undesirable harmful microorganisms. They are useful in the fields of food preservation or safety, health care, and pharmaceutical applications. The inhibition activity of these substances has been reported to be strain-dependent. Binding to the epithelial cell on the gastrointestinal surfaces is one of the important factors of resident microflora to colonize the intestine. Certain L. acidophilus strains are able to produce substances that compete and prevent pathogenic bacteria from adhering to the receptors on epithelial cells of intestinal surfaces. The potential probiotic effects of L. acidophilus is well known in the human ecosystem and their production of antimicrobial peptides can contribute to elucidate the precise mechanisms by which L. acidophilus can dominate the intestinal microbiota and achieve their probiotic function. This paper presents a review of the antimicrobial proteinaceous compounds produced by various acidophilus strains, the attempts made to purify them, their characterization and useful applications.
Key words: Lactobacillus acidophilus, bacteriocin, application.
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